Friday, April 22, 2011

The Easter Miracle

The Good Friday 10 Miler. Proof that Miracles Do Happen!

After the week I've had, I seriously didn't have high hopes for this race. I've been super stressed for the last 3 days. To top it all off, I got my period this morning. Never a good thing on race day. I was crampy and head achey and really just wanted to stay in bed.

But after asking hubby to drive out to Burlington the day before to pick up my race kit, I figured I had better get my butt out of bed. I popped a couple of Extra strength Tylenol to deal with my cramps and wandered downstairs to eat breakfast.

My speedy friend Linnea had also registered so she came to our place and we carpooled. Well, Gary chauferred us. I felt better by the time we got to the race site. Linnea and I did a decent warm up run, probably about 1.5-2km. Pit stop for one last pee break and it was off to the start line.

I figured I'd try to hang on to Linnea for as long as possible. That plan lasted until about the 3km mark. She had another gear that I didn't have. I decided that there was no way I could keep up that pace so I backed it off and just ran. There was no doubt I was running hard. My heart rate was consistently around 175. The course had a lot of rollers and false flats and it was super windy in some spots. Once the crowd thinned out, I was running on my own for a long long time. There were a few people a ways behind me. Eventually a couple of guys caught me, but no women. At least not on the first loop. Got through the first loop in 38:10 (almost a full minute slower than I ran the 8km 2 weeks ago ). I really started to suffer on the second loop at about the 10km mark. My legs felt like they had nothing. I slowed down on the hills. A few more people caught me (guys). One woman passed me a little later on and I let her go. There was no way I was catching her. I came out onto the main road which was super windy and got passed by another guy but I managed to duck in behind him and draft. AHHH, so nice. Another woman, wearing a yellow top, caught me and passed me. I let her go. Then another woman in a white shirt and guy came up on me and passed me. I got behind them and drafted. I tried to keep both of these women in my sight. I slowed down through the aid station to get some water and the white top girl and the guy she was running with surged ahead. I motored on, not sure if I'd catch them again. At the 2 mile mark I thought I'd try to see if I had anything left in the tank. With the Black Keys "Howling For You" blasting, I started to pick it up. Another guy passed me and I jumped behind him and drafted off him. We were getting close to the street we turn up to get to the finish line and I could see the 2 women (yellow top & white top) that had passed me earlier up ahead. I figured it was time for me to see what I had left. I passed the guy I was drafting off and picked up the pace. I caught the first woman in the yellow top and blew by her. Gary saw me and started yelling. Then I saw Linnea and she started screaming and cheering. The woman in the white top saw me coming and decided to sprint with me. We ran HARD towards the finish line. My heart was in my throat and I was getting a little dizzy. The finishing chute was on a downhill and I just let my legs go. I could see her in my peripheral vision for what seemed like forever and then she disappeared. I dropped her. With my heart in my throat, I crossed the finish line in 1:16:32. My heart rate hit 197. My watch said I ran a 3:10km. WTF. The woman in the white crossed the finish line a few seconds later. I high fived her and thanked her for that awesome sprint. It was just the push I needed.

Linnea and I did a little cool down run and then went in to get some food. We decided to check out the results after we finished eating. Linnea came in second in our age group. I came in 9th. At least that's what I thought. Until I heard my name called as the FIRST place finisher in the women's 40-49 year old age group. WHAAAT? Linnea had gotten the first overall Women's Masters and the woman that had come in first in our age group was also first OVERALL. So, in the original standings, I was actually listed as 3rd in my age group, 9th woman overall (that was the 9 that I saw) BUT with the 2 other women taking those top 2 prizes, I got bumped up to first.


Final stats: Watch said I ran 16.69km in 1:16:32 which works out to 4:35 km's. So I was actually faster since the distance was longer than 16.09km. Avg hr was 176. Calories burned almost 800.

Great way to cap off a less than stellar week!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

When The World Is Running Down...

you make the best of what's still around.

Or so the song goes. Ok so the world running down might be a bit dramatic. But when you're dealing with the moods of Mother Nature, it's probably not too far off.

Today's EPIC weather was no exception.

The forecast was for rain and wind. Lots of it. I didn't really think much of it until I woke up and heard the pounding of the rain. Yes, pounding. On our bedroom windows. Sigh. Rain pounding on the bedroom windows could only mean one thing. A hard wind from the east. Awesome. Sure enough after I dragged myself out of bed and looked out the window, the rain seemed to be falling horizontally. Ugh. I started trying to figure out if I could get my run done tomorrow. Given that hubby was going to be riding Paris to Ancaster and I was the designated toter, I figured my chances of getting my run after we got back would be slim. So it had to be today. I was planning on running 24km, even though my plan called for a 16km run. I figured because I was racing next Friday, it would make more sense for me to do an easy 16km on the Sunday after the race vs a 24km run with 10km @ race pace.

I lazed around for a large part of the morning, watching the weather, hoping the rain would let up. I could handle running 24km in windy conditions but wind AND rain, well, I'd rather not. Sure enough around 11:00 am the rain stopped. At 11:30 I started to get myself ready. I had a big debate with myself over what to wear. You'd think that after almost 15 years of running, I'd have that down pat. I struggle with it all the time. Since the rain had stopped, I figured I'd wear my Nike Pro compression top under my zoot jacket. Had my CWX tights on and my Sugoi compression socks underneath them (to keep my ankle and arch supported). Grabbed my baseball cap and a pair of throwaway knit gloves and my sunglasses (to keep the wind out of my eyes). I figured I was good to go.

I left the house and decided to run east into the wind, that way it would be at my back on the way home. Wow, it was really blowing. About 5 minutes into my run, I started to notice the rain drops. Just a smattering at first, didn't seem too bad at all. I figured I'd be ok and I kept going. IDIOT. About 25 minutes later, I was out by the lake. The wind was blowing SO hard I felt like I was running on the spot. And, the rain had all of a sudden really started to come down. I had rain drops rolling off my nose. It was dripping off the brim of my hat. My jacket was almost totally soaked through. At that point I thought, there is no way I'm running 24km in this crap. In fact, I was VERY close to turning around right there. I then thought "No, if this was a race, you couldn't turn around, so suck it up". I motored on a bit more. I looked at my watch: 34 minutes in. That's IT??? Ok, time to re-group. I figured I'd run out 45 minutes and then turn around. That should give me 16km.

Then a funny thing happened.

I got to 45 minutes and thought, hmmm, the wind will be at my back, so maybe I should go out a couple of minutes longer. 47 minutes passes me by and I thought, ok to hell with you Mother Nature, let's see if I can get to 50 minutes. Those 3 minutes were just plain awful. The wind was totally slapping me around. I kept telling myself: "this will just make me stronger...keep going". 50 minutes comes and I turn around.

Ahhhhh. But only for a bit.

It was just as cold and miserable running the other way, albeit I was at least running faster due to the wind at my back. That was the only positive. The rain was coming down in sheets. My feet were soaked. And I started to get really cold. I was worried that I might have to call Gary to come and get me. I started to tell myself ok, just get to Eden (restaurant by the Lake) and see how you feel when you get there. I made it to Eden, was feeling miserable but decided that I was really only about 25 minutes from home. If I could just get to the RBC on Lakeshore, maybe I could duck in there and call him. All I could think about was getting warm. I had pools of water forming in the fingertips of my gloves. My arms were numb as were my fingers. I got to the RBC and thought, ok, I'm really only less than 20 minutes from home. I can do this. Keep going. My legs were aching. My sciatic nerve was acting up. I wanted to stop. More self talk: Maybe if I make it to the Birds & Beans Coffee shop, I can stop there, get a coffee, warm up and call Gary.

I get to the Coffee Shop and I figure, 15 minutes left. I can do this. Don't stop.

I start to pick up the pace a bit but I feel like I'm running out of gas. I only had one gel, despite the fact that I brought 4. My hands were too cold to even try to get one out. I make it to Royal York and Lakeshore. Almost home. Only another 8 minutes. I start chanting (in my head) 8 more minutes, 8 more minutes. I am completely frozen and miserable. All I can think about is getting warm. I look up with just over 1km to go and I see my Knight in a smoke grey Jetta Wagon.

Talk about good timing.

Gary had driven out to find me. He had a couple of jackets, a pair of gloves and a hat for me in case I wanted to finish my run home. I looked at my watch and saw 1:30:35. That was enough for me. I pulled the pin and got in the car. I ran 16.42km. Perfect.

Mother Nature tried her best to run me down I proved to myself that I can make the best of what's still around.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Much Like A Fine Wine....

I am getting better with age.

I didn't really prove that little theory of mine until this Saturday when I ran the Harry's Spring Run Off 8km. The last time I ran that race it was called the Dupont Spring Run Off...and I was 29 years old. That was 11 long years ago. Of course being the stats nerd that I am I HAD to go and check my finishing time from that race. I ran it in 38:49, which worked out to 4:55 km/s on a really hilly course. Could I do better? I thought I might be able to, however I was also planning on running TO the race venue, which is roughly 8.5 km from my house. Seeing as I had to do long run that day, I thought that made the most sense timing wise.

So off I went at about 8:45 am. I made it to High Park just after 9:30 am. It was not the easy run out I had hoped for as I was running into a really good headwind all the way out. And then the wind decided to change direction and come out of the north as I ran up the big fat hill on Ellis. Ugh. But at least I was really warmed up by the time I met up with my hubby!

I was quite excited by the time we got to the race start. I was actually looking forward to going hard. My game plan was to run as hard as I could for as long as I could. I was a little concerned about the hills as I haven't done any proper hill training but with some decent pacing I figured I'd be fine.

For some ridiculous reason I seeded myself in the 40-43 minute corral when I signed up so my plan was to get to the very front of my corral. Totally not a problem. I stretched a bit, re-tied my trusty Newtons and waited for the gun to go off. I had to dodge a few slower folks but managed to get into some open space relatively quickly. Hit the first km marker in 4:30. YES. I was feeling good. I had taken a GU Roctane just before the start and I figured that would take a couple of km to kick in. It hit me just after I crested the Centre Road hill, just past the 3km mark. Too bad I didn't take it earlier, that hill might not have been as much trouble as it was! I recovered pretty quickly once I got to the top. I was motoring along, still turning over between 4:35-4:45 kms, depending on the terrain. My heart rate was pinned but I felt like I was completely in the zone. It hurt but I almost wasn't aware of it. Love that. I was trying to pick off as many women as I could. That got harder towards the end. Some guys passed me but no women. I caught a couple as we got close to Spring Road and the lovely 400m steep climb towards the finish line. I saw Gary with the camera and I could hear him yelling looking good, now pick it up (God love him). I was gassed. My heart was in my throat. I tried to keep my shoulders back and look up the hill. There was a woman in front of me, less than 50m ahead of me but I couldn't catch her. Not without barfing. I pushed as hard as I could the last 100m. My entire body was filled with lactic acid. Sweet sweet pain. I looked at the clock as I came up to the line: 37:12. Sweet. Beat my previous time by 1 minute 37 seconds. Forty schmorty.

Met up with G, gave him my goodies and then I went for a nice little 2km cool down run. Got back to the car and there was an Americano waiting for me. Love him. Got home, stretched and thought I'd check to see where I ended up in my age group. I just about fell off the couch when I saw that I had come in 7th in my age group. 7th!!! Out of 144 women. That woman in front of me was 6th. ARG.

Kinda makes me wonder what I would have done had I NOT run 8.5 km before hand!

Next up, the Good Friday 10 miler. I'm going to have to earn my Cadbury Mini Eggs!